Literature review: Inclusive Recruitment for Culturally and Racially Marginalised Groups

Report summary

Inclusion in hiring practices is a crucial part of making sure that the workforce reflects the diversity of society. This is especially important in the NSW public service, where it's seen as a fundamental aspect of creating an inclusive environment.

The NSW public service is committed to having a diverse workforce and supports efforts to recruit and include people from different cultural and language backgrounds. However, there are challenges due to the variety within this group and the barriers they face, such as discrimination.

This paper is the first step in a research project by Anti-Discrimination NSW and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. Its goal is to understand why people from diverse backgrounds might find it hard to get jobs in the NSW public service.

The paper reviews research from Australia and around the world. It focuses on two main areas: the challenges faced by culturally and racially marginalised groups when looking for jobs, and strategies employers can use to make their hiring processes fair for everyone.

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Download a copy of the literature review: Inclusive Recruitment for Culturally and Racially Marginalised Groups
(PDF, 6.6 KB)

While there's a lot of research on the difficulties these groups face in finding jobs, there's less certainty about which strategies actually work to make hiring more inclusive. Some commonly suggested approaches haven't been studied enough, and others have shown mixed results when tested in real-world situations.

This paper identifies several major obstacles in the journey to employment for these groups, including:

  • Language barriers, especially for recent migrants and refugees, affect their experience in every stage of the hiring process.
  • Lack of local work experience makes it hard for them to get references and understand Australian work culture.
  • Employers sometimes undervalue qualifications and experiences from other countries.
  • Not being familiar with Australian work culture can hurt their job search and interview performance.
  • Limited access to local networks means they don't have as much information and advice about job opportunities.
  • Visa requirements can make it difficult for temporary visa holders to find employment.

Discrimination makes these barriers even worse during the hiring process. Some common biases that affect hiring decisions include:

  • Affinity bias, where recruiters prefer candidates who are similar to them.
  • Confirmation bias, where stereotypes about cultural groups influence hiring decisions.
  • Halo effect, where one positive trait leads to an overall positive judgment.
  • Status quo bias, where recruiters stick to what they know.
  • Groupthink, where pressure to agree with others affects decision-making.

These biases can lead to negative outcomes for culturally and racially marginalised job seekers, such as longer job searches, underemployment, and exploitation.

This paper also examines different strategies to make hiring more inclusive, including:

  • Targeted advertising and branding to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds
  • Anonymising applications to reduce unconscious bias
  • Structured interviews to reduce discrimination
  • Bias reduction training for hiring staff
  • Having diverse hiring panels
  • Affirmative recruitment measures
  • Using AI in recruitment, though cautiously due to potential biases.


Download a copy of the literature review: Inclusive Recruitment for Culturally and Racially Marginalised Groups (PDF, 6.6 KB)

Last updated:

19 Mar 2024

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